Beyond the Pale Brewing - Shane, Rob & Al

Beyond the Pale Brewing - Shane, Rob & Al

Beyond the Pale Brewing


108 - 250 City Centre Ave
Ottawa, Ontario
(613) 695-2991

Owners: Shane Clark, Rob McIsaac, Al Clark

Interview by Nikki Gillingham, Blue Whale Communications Photography: Marianne Rothbauer


Tell us a bit about yourself – what made you decide to get into the beer business?

We got into the business to make great beer and have fun doing it.

Tell us about what “Beyond the Pale” means to you – in terms of the history of the saying, and the beer.

A pale is a stake or pointed piece of wood. It was used to demark the area that was civilized or safe. The expression Beyond the Pale refers to things that are outside what is custom or safe. Our beers reflect this – always pushing the boundaries and moving into new territory.


How has Beyond the Pale evolved since first opening in Ottawa?

Beyond the Pale started with 1,000-sq. ft. as a brewery and tasting room selling growlers and only having enough beer to open a couple of days a week. Now we operate out of a 20,000-sq. ft. facility with a Brewery, Tap Room, Bottle Shop and service Bars and Restaurants, LCBO outlets and Grocery stores throughout Ontario.

You talked about the early days and your original 3-barrel system that was a 7-days-a-week production. How did the beginning inspire the path Beyond the Pale took as it grew?

From the day we opened our doors we could not keep up with demand. In order to work the hours required we created a Fun environment that persists today. If it is not fun we don’t do it. We have fun making our beer; fun selling it and we hope that people have fun drinking it.


You’ve found a number of ways to become more efficient in the production process. Where do the ideas come from?

We visit a lot of breweries and drink their beer. The beer brewing community is like a big family we compete on sales but share wherever we can on the production side.

You clearly have a strong community connection – from going to Algonquin College with a problem for engineering students; to donating grapefruit from Pink Fuzz production to Parkdale Food Centre and The Ottawa Mission; and even having a local artist design your storefront and bar areas. Why is it important for you to involve and support other local creatives?

We are all locals that have a strong attachment to the community. We don’t really think too much about why we engage locally, we just do it.


You mentioned that beer is “happiest when it’s cold” – any other tips for beer drinkers?

This refers to the storing beer, ideally keep the beer beneath room temperature and out of the sun. Beer should be drunk at the temperature that you prefer, some people love it cold, some love it at cellar temp.


What was the inspiration for your Starring Series?

There is a lot of fun and interesting hops out there and we wanted to showcase them. So with each new release we Star a hop and make sure it shines in the beer. It’s been an interesting project for us and it has allowed us a lot of freedom to try out new things.

Beyond the Pale is currently in about 100 bars and restaurants. What are your plans for expansion? Where would you love to see BTP served?

The medium term target is to be ubiquitous in Ontario. After that we will reach Beyond the Pale.


Any tips for the home brewers out there?

Keep brewing and having fun with beer. Brew it, Share it, Drink it and have fun. It’s all about experimentation sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

What’s your favourite BTP beer?

It changes all of the time. Often it is the latest beer but we have a wide selection. Currently it is definitely Yummy!, Clean Cut and Starring.


What’s next for Beyond the Pale?

Brewing more beer and creating more mischief.

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